“Morning Has Broken,” But How Do You Feel?

Cumulus Mammatus Clouds means a storm is nearby | Photo by Tim Chuey

Many of us, particularly of a certain age, remember “Morning Has Broken” as a hit song sung by Cat Stevens back in 1971. Believe it or not, that song is actually 90 years old. According to Godtube.com the lyrics were written by English author Eleanor Farjeon in 1931 and “was inspired by the village of Alfriston in East Sussex, then set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune known as ‘Bunessan.'”

I have sung it many times over the years in the various churches I attended. For those of you who may not be familiar with the song the above is Cat Stevens version from Youtube.

The reason I use this title is that I found an interesting article that discusses how the morning weather affects our outlook on the rest of the day. The title is “Study explores the effects of morning weather on people’s mood and wellbeing at work” and was written by Ingrid Fadelli on MedicalXpress.com. I think we all know that the weather can change our mood. Rainy weather makes some people feel bad or even depressed when it prevents them from participating in their outdoor activities. A snow storm can be exciting to those who like to ski or just play in the snow, but it can bother those who need to travel the slippery, snow-covered roads.

Sunny Sky
Sunny Sky, Little cloud | Photo by Tim Chuey

Quoting the article “… researchers at Leuphana University Luneburg, [Germany] have recently carried out a study investigating the effects of daily morning weather on how people feel when they are at work.” Their study was published in the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) journal Applied Psychology. The first question that usually comes to my mind is “What possessed them to come with the idea for this research project in the first place?” Surprisingly the answer is quite simple. Quoting the article : “The idea for this study came spontaneously during a team meeting on a bad weather day,” Laura Venz, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told MedicalXpress. “Everyone was sluggish and talking about the weather. Usually, we research how factors at work, such as conflict, high work load, or support, relate to how employees feel; that day brought the crazy idea that seemingly irrelevant factors, like the weather, might indeed play a role as well.”

Pictorial Weather Scale | Image by Venz & Pundt

How did the morning weather conditions affect people’s moods for the day at work? The researchers had to develop a way to get the subjects responses to a survey in a consistent and efficient manner. They needed to know what the weather conditions were each warning from the perspective of each subject so they developed a pictorial scale, a series of pictures of various sky conditions, for the subjects to choose from.

Rain, Moderate To Heavy
Rain, Moderate To Heavy In Eugene South Hills | Photo by Tim Chuey

There were one hundred-fifteen employees participating in the study by filling out surveys for a combined total of 457 work days. They chose the month of April for the survey because it has the most variable weather conditions in that part of Germany. According to Researcher Laura Venz “Participants simply chose the icon that presented the current weather. After work, they answered questions that measured their current wellbeing (ie. satisfaction, vigor, burnout, negative effect). This allowed us to relate morning weather to same-day welbeing after work.”

With my years of broadcasting weather I have had to deal with the positive and negative responses that the public would have during good weather and bad weather. That being said, I would assume that good weather would make people feel positive at work and bad weather would make them feel more negative. However, this latest research proves me wrong. Again from the article “Interestingly, the data they gathered suggested that morning weather was only related to positive wellbeing states, and not related to negative ones. In other words, searchers found that the better the weather was in the morning, the more employees felt energized and satisfied with their work. Contrarily, when the weather was bad, people felt more fatigued and unsatisfied. On the other hand, more negative wellbeing indicators, such as burnout and stress, appeared to be unaffected by the weather.”

To sum it all up Researcher Laura Venz said “Our findings surprised us, because we implicitly had expected stronger relationships with negative wellbeing states. We acknowledge that the weather is beyond the scope of managerial action. Nevertheless, we deem it important to realize that aspects beyond job design affect employees’ wellbeing at work.”

Rainbow Over Dog Park | Photo by Tim Chuey

Another thing I would mention is that everyone has their own idea of what they consider good weather and bad weather actually is in relation to them. That’s why surveys of this type have to measure the results through the proper filters. It will be interesting to see what the continuation of their research will reveal.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

Tim Chuey is a Member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association and has been Awarded Seals of Approval for television weathercasting from both organizations.

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